The pineapple upside-down cake was originally devised in the 1920′s as a way to promote canned pineapple, which had recently come on the market through Dole Co. Women’s magazine’s began running recipes featuring the pineapple cakes, studded with Maraschino cherries, baked in a cast-iron skillet.
As you can imagine, using fresh pineapple is far superior, though it remains a very simple cake to make. A generous amount of butter coats the bottom of the pan, then is covered by brown sugar, fresh pineapple, and a vanilla cake batter. As the cake bakes, the fruit juice combines with the butter and sugar to make a sticky, gooey caramel. This sweet nectar seeps into the cake after it is inverted and rests on your serving platter. This technique can also be used with slim wedges of fresh apricots, peaches or plums, or even slices of tart apple tossed in cinnamon.
Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
(recipe from Epicurious.com)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 fresh pineapple, halved lengthwise, cored and peeled
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temp
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Cut pineapple crosswise into 1/4-inch -thick wedges.
3. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep) lightly on sides and generously on bottom of pan using 1/2 stick of butter. Sprinkle all of the brown sugar over the butter, and arrange pineapple over it, starting in the center of the pan and overlapping slices slightly.
4. Beat together remaining stick butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until batter is smooth.
5. Spread batter evenly over pineapple and bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a rack. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, then invert cake onto a plate and remove the pan. Cool to room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream.